I’ve been especially missing my dad today. He went Home to Jesus six months ago this past Friday. I keep wishing I could talk to him and tell him what’s going on.
He liked all the updates and details. He liked to give me fatherly advice and wisdom. He would usually sympathize with my problems and cheerfully tell me to have a good day or to feel better or that he hoped I’d get a nap in.
I guess I haven’t missed that part of my relationship with mom, because it had gradually dissolved away with her dementia so many years before I actually lost her. I miss cuddling with her. I miss her love taps and her head on my shoulder. I miss her smile and holding her soft hand and the funny things she would say.
But I miss talking to daddy. I miss hearing his voice. I miss hearing the phone ring and “knowing” before I even answered it that it was him calling to check in.
Even while he was still alive I started missing his encouragement. He was uncomfortable and understandably grouchy quite often in the hospital and rehab center and it could be challenging to help him. I struggled to make him happy and often felt I was disappointing him.
He didn’t seem himself to me, and it was hard for me to admit to myself that he was dwindling away. I wish I had known better how to comfort him.
Many times after I helped him with his lunch or supper and visited awhile, he’d just seem serious when I had to go. More often than not it seemed he didn’t say thank you or good-bye or anything. He just asked for help with his kindle and put his head phones on so he could listen to a story.
I knew he wasn’t feeling well, but it still hurt. I missed his warmth and love, that seemed to only break through the “dark clouds” now and then. Maybe this seeming toughness was the only way he could stay strong with all the challenges he was dealing with.
I’m just so grateful now for the last words he said to me. I’d helped him with supper. I’d told him all the family news and everything else I could think of. I’d talked to the nurses and aides about his wishes and explained to him what they said.
And as I was saying good bye, he took my hand, and with that old-time daddy shine in his eyes, he said, “Thank you.” Those two simple words were the last I’d ever hear from him in this life.
And that moment means the world to me now.
Mama had stopped talking the last several days of her life so I hadn’t remembered the final words I’d heard from her, until I recently looked them up and found them in one of the last posts I wrote before she passed…
I was feeding Mama her bedtime snack. I sang a little made up tune, “Mommy, Mommy I love you…”
And Mama interrupted with a confident, “I know that.”
And it made me smile.
And now reading about our last conversation makes me cry and smile at the same time. I LOVE that she knew I loved her. If that is all she remembered about me, it is enough. She didn’t know I was her daughter anymore. She didn’t know my name. But she knew I loved her. And that warms my heart!
And I know that Mama and Daddy love me, too. And I’m grateful for all they did for me my whole life. And I’m even more grateful that God loved us all so much that He made a way for us to be all together again!
Even for a few years after Mama didn’t know who I was anymore, she could still perfectly quote John 3:16! “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
Because of this truth I know the next time I see Mom and Dad we will all be in the presence of Jesus!
And I wonder what our first words will be to each other then…